Phenol Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Phenol market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Phenol or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Phenol market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Phenol Overview Transcript
The global phenol market is structurally short and will remain so until new capacities starts to come on stream in Asia over the next few years.
Demand for phenol derivatives is set to remain steady in Europe, Asia and the US. This is because demand in downstream markets such as bisphenol A, caprolactam, adipic acid and phenolic resins is likely to remain subdued in the near term.
Global economic uncertainty and slow growth in developed markets will play their parts to aid stability. There is some concern over the supply of cumene, an upstream chemical, which may itself become short, tightening supply.
The other challenges facing the market for phenol are sharp fluctuations in the benzene price which can be hard to pass on to consumers in downstream markets where prices are negotiated rather than set on a formula basis.
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Phenol news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Phenol analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Phenol marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Phenol
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Phenol
Track historical price data
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News & Analysis - News & market analysis specifically relating to Phenol
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Phenol: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2015
Asian phenol profitability could fall in the fourth quarter as supply is expanded by the commissioning of Thai producer PTT Phenol’s new 250,000 tonnes/year plant. Chinese import demand is contracting, with the start-up of three world-scale plants in China. This new supply has prompted domestic phenol makers to cut output since June. Producers outside China have largely maintained high utilisation rates. As phenol’s premium to benzene narrows, output is being trimmed to counter margin contraction.
European operating rates are lower than in the first half of the year. Margins are poor, given low pricing. However, producers’ attempts to increase adders for the fourth quarter have largely failed. 2016 adder increases are being strongly fought by consumers. Demand is hampered by cheap Asian pricing, allowing competitive imports of derivatives.
In the US, 2016 contract negotiations are under way. Producers seek an adder increase given profitability concerns from benzene volatility. As a result of weak margins and relatively soft demand, co-product acetone was seen supporting phenol. The production landscape shifted given the sale of Axiall Corporation’s phenol/acetone business to INEOS and the new ownership of the Haverhill Chemicals plant.
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Phenol occurs as colourless to yellow crystals, with a characteristic carbolic odour which turns pink on exposure to light and air. It is strongly hydroscopic, liquefying in moist air. It is moderately dissolvable in water, but very soluble in ether, methyl and ethyl alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, acetic acid, glycerol, benzene and chlorinated hydrocarbons. The solution in water is a weak acid.
The main chemical intermediates and derivatives of phenol are bisphenol-A (BPA) used to make polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins, phenolic resins, caprolactam, alkylphenols, aniline and adipic acid. The largest market for phenol is BPA followed by phenolic resins.
Cumene-based technology is the dominant process to produce phenol. Here, benzene and propylene are reacted to form cumene, which is oxidised to the hydroperoxide, followed by acid-catalysed cleavage to yield phenol and acetone.